Stewart-Haas Racing announced on Monday that NASCAR Nationwide Series regular Austin Dillon will drive the No. 14 Sprint Cup Series car Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, substituting for the injured Tony Stewart.
Dillon was the 2011 champion in the Camping World Truck Series and last year’s Rookie of the Year in the Nationwide Series. He is currently the championship points leader on the Nationwide circuit. Dillon has also raced part-time in the Sprint Cup Series, already, this year, primarily in the No. 51 entry of Phoenix Racing.
“I’ve watched Austin for many years, and at each stage of his racing career, he’s been successful,” Stewart said. “He’s proven to be a very fast learner, and he’s able to adapt quickly. Being the youngest champion in the history of the Truck Series is proof of that. His background in dirt racing is an asset, and off the track, we share many of the same interests, specifically, hunting and fishing. I know he’ll perform well at Michigan, and I’m just as confident in his ability to represent Mobil 1 and Bass Pro Shops throughout the race weekend.”
It just so happens that Bas Pro Shops was Dillon’s primary sponsor when he competed full-time in the Camping World Truck Series.
Stewart broke both the tibia and the fibula in his right leg in a sprint car spring car crash at Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa on Aug. 5. He has undergone two surgeries as a result of the injury and was released from the hospital on Sunday evening. The timetable for his return is uncertain.
Max Papis drove the No. 14 in the road course race at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International on Aug. 11. He finished 15th at The Glenn to keep the No. 14 car in the 11th spot in the owner points standings. A driver lineup hasn’t been set for any of the races remaining this season beyond Sunday’s race at Michigan.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR